New Grimsby Town manager Ian Holloway says he’s ‘honoured and privileged’ to be boss at Blundell Park.
Holloway took Blackpool from Sky Bet Championship to the Premier League in 2010.
And the 56-year-old, who has also taken charge of Crystal Palace, Millwall, Queens Park Rangers, and Bristol Rovers, is delighted to be the new Town boss.
Speaking exclusively on iFollow Mariners, he said: “It’s an honour to be here, and a big decision which I made with the real boss – my wife Kim.
“The kids are older, they’ve got their own children now, and we feel there’ll be enough time to do grandparents duty as well.
“And we want to take on a challenge and get hold of a wonderful old club like this and try move it forward.
“I’m really, really excited about it – I can’t tell you how excited I am – I feel like a kid in a sweet shop, it’s been fantastic.
“I’ve been made to feel so welcome, and it’s been going on for a few weeks, and I’m absolutely delighted to be here now.
“It’s a great fit for me. Reading up about the history of the club since it was founded in 1878 – it’s absolutely magnificent.
“The managers we’ve had here – one of them is my hero in Bill Shankly, and to have the very same boot room that he used to go in is something else.
“It’s more about the people really. I’m a people person, and I think the whole place is quirky, and I’m a little bit quirky – I can have a laugh at myself and I like to enjoy my life.
“The stories about the people of this club pulling together are quite moving. They bought Omar Bogle – they tried to raise £20k, but instead they managed to raise £110k, and that’s just really special.
“I want to try and marry us up and have a real good, enjoyable time where we feel like we’re moving forward.
“I feel it’s really exciting – the board have sold me it – and my wife and I have bought into it, and we feel really privileged to be up here.
“It’s been 18 months since I took a club that I loved, and I felt I put them in a much better situation, and I’d love to try and help here and move the club forward on and off the pitch.
“It’s not about where we are now – it’s about where I want us to be, and how I want to feel about coming to work, and how I want the lads to feel, and how I want the supporters to feel about their club.
“It’s a privilege to be the manager of any football club, but Grimsby Town – because of its past and its history – I want to try and make the club’s future as bright as its past.
“If I can make any sort of difference – I’ll be trying to do that every day of my life and I’ll give you 100 per cent, and hopefully we’ll have an enjoyable period.
“I feel I’m the best Ian Holloway that I’ve ever been because of the experience that I’ve got – good and bad – and nothing makes me more proud to come here and bring that.
“And I want to give Grimsby Town the benefits of that, and hopefully Grimsby Town will make me feel on solid ground – like Blackpool did and Crystal Palace did at the time.”
Holloway, who is nearing 1,000 games as a professional football manager, can’t wait to get working with the Town squad.
He said: “Hopefully we’ll get that togetherness and then it’s amazing what can happen – you never know what can happen.
“At the minute we’re in a battle – we’re down the bottom and we don’t want to be down there, and we haven’t won for a while.
“But I’ve watched a few games and I feel we’ve been very, very unlucky – I thought the effort was great from the lads, I thought they worked really well.
“But unfortunately we didn’t get the break so let’s see if we can change that luck, and I believe you make your own luck by working hard.
“And the boys have been doing that so hopefully it’ll break for us soon.
“I don’t think there’s too much going wrong at the moment. When you haven’t won for a while you lose a little bit of enjoyment, and I don’t want us to worry about losing.
“If you do lose it’s an occupational hazard – let’s just bounce back and see what we do about it.
“Having an involvement on players and making them believe in themselves and that they’re better than they thought they can be, and they can achieve things, and watching them develop.
“And I want to make sure that these young lads, and the players that we’ve got, understand that I can’t wait to work with them, and for them to make a mistake and me encourage them.
“And maybe give them a bit of knowledge – make them think slightly differently about football than they did before.”
And Holloway hopes more Town fans will come and support him and the players in Sky Bet League Two at Blundell Park in the coming months.
He said: “When I played here for QPR you could have been in a stadium five times as big as this – it was frightening.
“And that’s what I want to create again, and I know the fans have been doing that.
“But we need to get more people here, I want to get more people here, and I want them to feel as if they’ve got value for money because the team don’t stop trying.
“And hopefully we’ll climb up the pyramid – that’s what we want to do.”